Using Choice-boards to Create Business Value

Document Type



Published by the The Association for Computing Machinery in Communications of the ACM, volume 47 issue 12, 2004. Bryant users may access this article here.


The Association for Computing Machinery


This article describes an emerging technology called choiceboards that allows customers to design their own product and services. Choiceboards are interactive, online systems that let users custom-design products by choosing from a menu of attributes, components, prices and delivery options. Choiceboards are an important part of Dell Computer Corp.'s Web-based direct ordering system. On, customers start with a basic configuration defined by a processor model and speed and then go on to specify the full configuration of a personal computer with their choice of hard drive size, memory, monitors, printers and multimedia add-ons. This article provides a framework called the choiceboard pyramid that businesses can use to acquire competitive market advantage. The framework relates four factors — company strategy, consumer characteristics, service and systems — and allows for the definition of two interrelated spaces: the experiential space and the customization space. The experiential space is the interaction between the consumer, the choiceboard system and the resultant experience that the consumer encounters.